Thomas Pettus


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Thomas Pettus  This is an educational website reporting on the archaeological findings of the home of our ancestor, Thomas Pettus and the villainous Mr. and Mrs. Bray who managed to abscond with the inheritance of our ancestor, Thomas Pettus's son.  As one would do for a book, the credit is given for this "quote" from their website.  I highly recommend it as it helps to place our ancestor into the timeline of history.  See also:



    A) Background of discovery and preservation
    B) Historical Patterns of Land Use


C) Stage I - Tenant Farmers (1607-40) 

1624 -- transient tenants working the land on 100-200 acre plots primarily for Richard Kingsmill, who lived in Jamestown 

  remains are scant and composed of soil stains indicating native timbers set directly in post holes.  

  the trash pits associated with these houses show an unusually high incidence of luxury artifacts (enameled toiletry articles and jewelry).  These artifacts reflect the boom-town environment of the 1620s and 30s when the tobacco planters profitted from the inflated tobacco prices. 

  it is possible that some of the residents of this area were also affected the Indian massacre of 1622, but no archaeological evidence has been found like at Martin's 100


D) Stage II -- English Gentry (1640-1700) 

the pattern at Kingsmill shifted shortly before 1650 when Colonel Thomas Pettus arrived on the scene.  Pettus was the 12th son of William Pettus, a wealthy merchant of Norfolk in England.  Due to his dismal prospect of inheritance, Pettus emigrated to Virginia shortly after 1641 and acquired the 800 acre Littletown tract at Kingsmill.  He employed both Indian and African slaves and quickly established a profitable tobacco planting program. 

  the archaeological remains of the Pettus plantation are much more substantial than those of the previous state.  The manor house, although continuing to make use of timber for most of its construction also possed sturdy brick chimneys, glass windows, a brick-lined well and an ice house for the storage of diary products 

  the plantation was active until 1669 when Pettus died and then passed onto his son, Thomas.  An ash layer associated with dateable artifacts indicates that the house burned down in the 1690s.


E) Stage III -- Native Virginians (1700-  ) 

In 1700 James Bray, a native Virginian, married the widowed daughter-in-law of Thomas Pettus and the heirs to the Pettus estate released Littletown to Bray for five shillings and the rent of one ear of corn a year, payable on demand.  Bray immediately set about building a plantation home some 300 yards to the northwest of the ruins of Littletown. 

  Bray erected a substantial, and imposing structure composed entirely of brick.  In design it speaks of permanence; there are no additions and few alterations that can be detected in the foundations and it shows the preoccupation with symmetry, that Deetz comments on in his discussion of the Georgian period of colonial architecture. 

See Also:  The Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities

BURGESS FROM LUNENBURG 1748 Clement Reade, Henry Embry. 1749 Clement Reade, Henry Embry. 1752 William Byrd [III], Clement Reade. 1753 William Byrd [III], Clement Reade. 1754 William Byrd [III]. 1754 William Byrd [III], William Embry (in the place of Clement Reade, Surveyor). 1754 William Embry, Matthew Marable (in the place of William Byrd III, Council). 1755 William Embry, Matthew Marable. 1756 Thomas Nash, William Embry. 1757 William Embry, Thomas Nash. 1758 William Embry, Thomas Nash. 1758 Clement Reade, Matthew Marable. 1759 Clement Reade, Matthew Marable (unseated by contest). 1759 Clement Reade, Matthew Marable (re-elected). 1760-61 Clement Reade, Matthew Marable. 1761 Clement Reade, Henry Blagrave. 1762 Clement Reade, Henry Blagrave. 1763 Henry Blagrave, Clement Reade, Jr. (in the place of Clement Reade, dec.). 1764 Henry Blagrave, Clement Reade, Jr. 1765 Henry Blagrave, William Taylor (in the place of Clement Reade, Jr., coroner). 1766-68 William Taylor, Henry Blagrave. 1769 Henry Blagrave, John Randolph (Attorney General). 1769-71 Thomas Pettus, Lodowick Farmer. 1772 Richard Claiborne, Thomas Pettus (unseated by contest). 1772 Richard Claiborne, Henry Blagrave (removed as not duly elected). 1772 Richard Claiborne, Thomas Pettus (re-elected). 1773-75 Richard Claiborne, Thomas Pettus